The Rule of Law and Process of Change
One thing I find interesting to study is how systems change. In theory politics is about "power" and the ability to effect change. However, frequently "politics" is about status and really does not result in that much that changes.
Good examples of laws that have not had any real effect is the "banning" of hunting with hounds. The argument about whether it is better for a fox to be shot than torn about by dogs resulted in a law that cannot be seen to have had any real discernable effect.
At the same time the law has been recently reinterpreted to substantially open up much of the actions of the Family Courts. There is an interesting question as to what encourages judges such as Mumby J to make such clear shifts in process. There is a public debate in the media, there was also an Early Day Motion that had large numbers of MPs sign it.
In a traditional constitutional sense the houses of parliament are actually courts. They were used to change the common law through statute in such a manner as had popular consent and could be used to consider individual actions. The COmmons retains its power of committal. The powers to hold the executive to account have developed over time.
Where there is an interesting question is to what extent actions in the House of Commons which fall short of statute can affect the interpretation of law by the Courts. That is an issue which I would like to challenge in the new year. If an Early Day Motion is signed by sufficient (probably a majority) of MPs then that should be seen as a reasonable basis for an interpretative guide by the courts.
Even with a written constitution there are still going to be areas of interpretation. I do think there is a case for determining which statutes are constititional and should require more than a majority in parliament for change. However, I am not sure that we need to hardwire the majority of the British constitution.
Still I have a couple of projects upon which I would aim to test the constitution in ways that it has not overtly been tested before.